Prevalence of plasmodium, leptospira and rickettsia species in Northern Tanzanian: a community based survey

Jaffu O Chilongola1,2, Elias J Sabuni3, Eliakimu Paul Kapyolo4
Publication year: 


The overlap of symptoms, geographic and seasonal co-occurrence of Plasmodium, Leptospira and Rickettsia infectionsmakes malaria diagnosis difficult, increasing the chances of misdiagnosis. The paucity of data on the prevalence Plasmodium,Leptospira and Rickettsia infections contributes to an overly diagnosis of malaria. We aimed to determine the prevalence anddistribution of Plasmodium, Leptospira and Rickettsia infections in northern Tanzania.


A community based, cross sectional survey was conducted in two sites in Northern Tanzania. PCR was used to detectPlasmodium, Leptospira and Rickettsia infections.


The prevalence of P. falciparum and Leptospira spp were 31/128 (24.2%) and 3/128 (2.3%), respectively. No Rickettsiainfection was detected in any of the two sites. Taking study sites separately, Plasmodium infection was detected in 31/63(49.2%)of participants in Bondo while Leptospira infection was detected in 3/65(4.6%) of participants in Magugu. Plasmodium was notdetected in Magugu while no Leptospira infections were detected in Bondo. Fever was significantly associated with Plasmodiuminfection (χ2= 12.44, p<0.001) and age (χ2=17.44, p=0.000).


Results from this study indicate Plasmodium infection as the main cause of fever in the studied sites. While Plasmodiumand Leptospira contribute to fevers, Rickettsia infection is an insignificant cause of fever in Northern Tanzania.